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Valentine’s Day Massacre Thwarted: Minnesota at Northwestern

14 February 2010 No Comment

On a Sunday afternoon when the wife was teaching her ice skating students in a competition, I drove to Evanston for the Minnesota at Northwestern game – a typical way to spend Valentine’s Day :-).

Even before today, Northwestern most likely needed to win out the regular season in order to have any chance of making the NCAA Tournament. And today was one of those days that made you question whether they could do so.

Minnesota had an 8-point lead at halftime. Northwestern closed that lead to two points 3:54 into the second half. My first thought was that I would not get excited until Northwestern took the lead – a good plan since Minnesota went on an 8-0 run to take a 10-point lead.

Within the next 1:41, Minnesota extended that lead to 13 points with 8:01 remaining in the second half – what seemed to be an insurmountable lead. Then Northwestern did something nobody expected – they went on a 20-6 run and took a 55-52 that stretched to 57-54 with only 35 seconds left. However, Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber hit a three-pointer with 18.5 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, Minnesota took a three-point lead (62-59) with 3:43 left. But Northwestern scored nine straight points to lead 68-62 with only 1:13 left – a lead which I soft was safe and, thus, started to get excited. But Minnesota made basket after basket to keep the game close. Northwestern luckily went 11-for-12 from the free throw line down the stretch to win the game 77-74 in the most exciting and dramatic Northwestern game I have ever attended.

This was only the fourth overtime game I have attended at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern is now 2-2 in those games. The other three occurred on:

1) February 8, 1998: Penn State at Northwestern
2) January 26, 2005: Iowa at Northwestern
3) February 15, 2009: Michigan at Northwestern

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